We all know how indispensable metadata are – for interoperability, for search, for preservation. But more often than not the mere mention of the M-word is enough to scare data creators and even colleagues in archives away. At the Dutch National Archives, Jorien Weterings and Gijsbert Kruithof designed an educational tool to make learning about metadata easier and, more importantly, more fun. Jorien presented the “metadata game” at ICA 2012 to an enthusiastic audience. - by Inge Angevaare
Quoting from Jorien’s full paper at the ICA site: “The purpose of the Metadata Game is to explain the most important concepts concerning metadata. It shows the difference between a metadata schema (a set of arrangements) and an XML-schema (an instrument), and it demonstrates the importance of standardization. We also want to show how a mapping of the metadata from the source system of a records creator to the target system – the e- Depot of the National Archives – can be made. By playing the game, we aim at educating colleagues that have to give advice on creating metadata schemas or support records creators with the transfer of their electronic records to the e-Depot [the NA digital repository].”
To underline the fact that the game is based on solid metadata principles, the “fun” part of the story was (and is, in the paper) preceded by a thorough introduction into metadata as such and Dutch public records metadata in particular.
The audience at ICA 2012 was impressed. “I so recognize the problem,” an archivist from Finland said, “my colleagues just do not want to know about metadata. This is a great educational tool. Is there an English version available?”
Not yet – but perhaps someone should sit down with Jorien and Gijsbert and work on that.